Other Teams Get Betterer, Too!

Chris Richard is back in the D-League. Try to look excited. (via www.nba.com)

You thought that Allred and Karl going back to the Stampede was all that's been going on?  Well you are mistaken my friend!

For instance, the Tulsa 66ers acquired Chris Richard.  Richard, you may recall, played for Tulsa (so he was acquired as a returning player) last season before hurting his back.  He has one NBA stint already under his belt, with Minnesota in 2007, and he played for the Bulls this preseason but was cut in favor of fellow D-League prospect Derrick Byars.  Richard can rebound a little bit and has been improving since those 50-odd Timberwolves games (where he averaged six points, nine rebounds and five and a half fouls per 36 minutes); more importantly, while Tulsa started the year with a loaded frontcourt, BJ Mullens and DJ White are back in Oklahoma City, DeVon Hardin and Steven Hill are hurting, Keith Clark was traded and rookie Latavious Williams has had his minutes limited by the coaching staff (in part because his condtioning isn't to the point where he's a 25-30 minute a night player).  That leaves...that leaves...well, no one.  Richard steps in to play center, even though he's really more of a power forward.  I don't think Richard has been playing since training camp (though feel free to correct me), so he'll probably have to play himself into shape a little bit.  He should help Tulsa's post defense and, somewhat importantly, keep Latavious Williams or Deron Washington or Marcus Lewis from having to start at center.

Also!  Patty Mills is coming back to the D-League, on another assignment from the Portland Trail Blazers.  Mills, you'll recall, spent a pair of games with the Stampede at the beginning of the month, when he scored a combined 60 points, shot over 73 percent from outside and almost 57 percent overall, and generally dominated on the offensive end.  Idaho has eight games in the next 15 days, but two of those are this weekend, when Portland has none.  They could let him play in the Stampede's next two games and recall him in time for Monday's Portland game, but considering it's against Washington, they probably don't need to (same goes for Wednesday's game against Philly; they could leave him with the Stampede to play on Tuesday).  However long he's with Idaho, with Lanny Smith recovering from injury and Sundiata Gaines in the NBA the team shouldn't see much drop-off between Mills and Coby Karl.

Also also!  Malik Hairston is also (also) coming back to the D-League, on his second assignment of the year from the Spurs (actually he already played last night).  His previous stint also (also) was two games, when he scored a combined 50 points.  He probably becomes Austin's best perimeter defender, which has more to do with how poorly the Toros have defended so far this year.  He and Alonzo Gee are a devastating scoring combo (ignore the fact that it didn't work last night), and perhaps he can provide some leadership and get the team to play some consistent ball.

A few other teams made some roster moves, though this involved picking up guys already in the league rather than bringing in new talent.  The Sioux Falls Skyforce acquired center Terrence Gamble from the player pool, giving them a full roster of players.  Gamble, I think it can be assumed, is being brought in to either back up or play in lieu of Greg Stiemsma, who's still recovering from injury.  Raymond Sykes wasn't getting it done in any consistent way, but Gamble's not very good either.  He's played in seven games this season, his best coming against Idaho when he scored nine points on seven shots with five rebounds and three blocks.  He's only averaging 3.4 points and 5.7 rebounds a game, but believe it or not those are improvements over his career numbers.  He's shooting an atrocious 29 percent from the free throw line, too.  He pretty much helps the team by being there and not forcing other guys to play extra minutes.  The LA D-Fenders picked up Horace Wormely, again, and cut former NBA player Gabe Pruitt to make room.  Wormely hasn't really played well this season, shooting 31 percent and seven and a half points, four and a half rebounds and four assists in eight games, but Pruitt really, really wasn't working out.  11 and a half points and four assists per game, but as someone who spent two seasons with the Boston Celtics you'd think he could do better than that.  Who does he think he is, Mario West?  Pruitt had some other issues brewing that probably led to this, but the fact that the team probably won't see much of a drop-off in production with him gone should speak volumes about how he was adjusting to the D-League.

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